Japan orders missile intercept of North Korean rocket if territory threatened

Japan’s defense minister Friday ordered missile units to intercept a long-range rocket expected to be launched by North Korea if the rocket or its fragments threaten to hit Japan.

The Unha-3 rocket is expected to fly past western Japan after its launch from North Korea’s west coast sometime between April 12 and 16. The plan has raised concerns that a failed launch, or a falling stage of the rocket, could endanger Japanese lives or property.

Friday’s order from Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka came at a meeting of Japan’s national security council and followed earlier instructions for the military to prepare to intercept the rocket if it enters Japanese territory.

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North Korea fueling rocket, says Japanese report

North Korea has reportedly begun fueling a rocket for a launch next month, defying calls to abort an event the West says is a disguised missile test, as the US suspended planned food aid.

“The launch is coming closer. The possibility is high that the launch date will be set for April 12 or 13,” Japan’s Tokyo Shimbun reported yesterday, quoting a source “close to the government” in Pyongyang.

It cited the source as saying that North Korea had begun injecting liquid fuel into the rocket.

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Japan’s PM Slams North Korea Launch at Nuclear Summit

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda used his opening speech at the summit to say the international community strongly demands North Korea exercise self-restraint on next months planned rocket launch.”

The planned missile launch North Korea recently announced would go against the international communitys nuclear non-proliferation effort and violate U.N. Security Council resolutions,” Noda said.

No other major leaders mentioned North Koreas nuclear ambitions or the ballistic missile launch which the Pyongyang says will carry a weather satellite into orbit. The West says the launch is a disguised test of a long-range missile designed to reach the American mainland.

Read the rest of the story: Japan goes off script at nuclear summit to slam North Korea.

Japan May Deploy Missiles Ahead Of North Koreas Planned Rocket Launch

Japan may deploy land-based and sea-based interceptor missiles ahead of North Koreas planned rocket launch next month and has not ruled out shooting down the rocket if it violates Japanese airspace, according to defense officials and media reports.

Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka said Wednesday that Japan is considering how to respond to any contingencies caused by the launch, including mobilizing destroyers and deploying mobile missile launchers to areas near the rockets planned trajectory.

North Korea has said it plans to launch a satellite into orbit. Japan, the United States and other countries claim it is also seeking to test the capabilities of its long-range missiles, in violation of international agreements.

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